Palliative Care and Cancer

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is about living fully to the very end-of-life with dignitary and comfort, surrounded by a circle of support. Palliative care is care given to improve the quality of life of a patient who has a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer.

If a person accepts palliative care, does it mean you won't get cancer treatment?

No. Palliative care is given in addition to cancer treatment. However, when a patient reaches a point at which treatment to cure the cancer is no longer possible, palliative care becomes the focus of care. It will continue to be given to alleviate the symptoms such as pain relief, and support emotional needs. Palliative care providers can help ease the transition to end-of-life care.

Where can you receive palliative care?

Palliative care is provided at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre, in hospitals, at the Provincial Palliative Care Centre in Charlottetown, at long-term care homes and in your home depending on your wishes and symptom needs. Under the direction of a physician with special training in palliative care, a team is brought together to support you, which may include nurses, social workers, home care nurses, spiritual care workers, pharmacists, physiotherapists, volunteers and your family.

What palliative and supportive care services are available to people with cancer and their families?

The Provincial Integrated Palliative Care Program is founded in offering patients and family dignity, compassion, choice, comforts and support. For more information about the program, visit Palliative Care, or speak to your health care provider.

Preparing for end-of-life:  Information for everyone

Dying is a natural part of life and it is important to think and plan for this before a crisis or difficult decisions need to be made. An Advance Care Plan is a record of your health and personal care preferences that is made while you are capable of providing consent to health care treatment or other care. For more information or tools to help create a plan, visit Advance Care Planning.


Published date: 
March 21, 2016
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